Before I begin though, you need to have an understanding of long-tail keywords. These are 3-4 word phrases that are VERY specific to your post. These are the phrases that potential readers of your blog are likely using to search for the information you are offering. For that reason, it’s important that you include one or two long-tail keywords in every post.
1. POST TITLES
- Include your keywords in your title and remember to start with them. Why? Because search engines give much more weight to the first few words in a title. An example is: “Back To School: Books for First Grade Students”
- Use colons when you have two keyword phrases as I do in the example above.
- Numbered Lists seem to generate more click-throughs. I hardly ever use them, but they’re very popular and generally eye-catching. Example, “10 Easy Art Lessons for Kids” or “25 Ways to Use Play Dough”. You get the idea:)
- The SitsGirls have more good ideas about post titles here.
2. WRITING YOUR POST
- Include keywords near the beginning of your post, and then a couple more times further in. But be careful not to overdo it because that makes Google cranky and they may penalize you for over-optimizing. As long as your post reads naturally and doesn’t feel forced, you’re good to go.
- Use subheadings in your posts. Apparently this isn’t as important as it used to be, but supposedly Google is still happier when you include subheadings. It helps the search engines figure out exactly what your post is about. You can see how I’ve used them in this post.
- Share your posts through social networks. The more external links you have leading back to your blog post the better!
- Link back to previous posts that relate to your current post. This is called internal linking and it’s not only super helpful to your reader, but also for improving your SEO. Here’s what kissmetrics has to say: “Content links are a strong signal to both the search engine and the user that the content you’re linking to is really good. Readers want that. Thus, internal linking is helping the reader. But you’re also helping your SEO.”
3. SEARCH DESCRIPTION
- Write a search description for each and every blog post. As you’re typing your post just look over to the right and you’ll see a list with Labels, Schedule, Permalink etc. Near the bottom is “Search Description”. Click on it and write a succinct description (think summary) of your post. If you don’t take the time to do this, then Google will just write a random summary for you. If you write it yourself, then YOU get to decide which snippets of information will show up in search results. (Please note: You need to enable Search Preferences and write your description under Meta Tags before this option shows up. You can find more info here.)
- Be sure to give your images proper names. Search engines won’t know what to make of an image entitled 634224.jpg. It doesn’t know you’ve just posted a super cute pic of your furry four-legged friend. But if you name it something like “cute-golden-cocker-spaniel-mix.jpg” then everyone’s clear. It’s also best to name the image in lower case with hyphens.
|Max the Spaniel mix|
- Alt tags are also super important! After loading your image into your post (but before publishing) be sure to click on the image and then “properties”. Two text fields will pop up.
- In the first box “Title Text” you can put anything you want. It will show up when a reader hovers their mouse over the image. In the second box “ALT Text” you want to write at least a one-line description of the image. This provides more information about the image and if the browser fails to upload the image, you can easily read a description. Also, it’s the alt text that shows up automatically as a description of your image when someone pins it. So make it a good one:)
- Image file size is also super important. If it’s too big and takes too long to upload then chances are your readers are going to vacate. FAST! ‘Cause no one likes hanging around waiting for a slow site to load. The easiest way to do this is to upload your images into tinypng.com. It’s free and also compresses jpg images. I love this site! Also, be sure to insert images that are smaller than (or no bigger than) your post area. If you load in a larger image and then resize it smaller it’s still going to take a long time to load.